Politics and Corruption in the Gilded Age

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What was the relationship between goverment and business in the late 1800s?

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Government and business were closely tied together during the late 1800's. The Republican administrations of the Gilded Age passed high tariffs that protected American business interests by raising duties on imported goods. Many Populists and Progressives viewed tariffs as an unfair tax on the consumer. Big American business saw it as giving them an advantage and allowing them to employ more unskilled laborers. Government also did not get involved in labor strikes unless it was a matter of moving the mail. Government agents intervened in railroad strikes on the side of business when it looked like the strikers would obstruct mail services.

Government also listened to business interests in terms of foreign policy. The Queen of Hawaii was overthrown by sugar and pineapple planters. She lost her power officially when McKinley annexed the islands at the request of business interests there. Government also annexed islands in the Pacific in order to allow American merchants to reach China....

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